SA Australian Consumer Law - Is a Store Obliged to Accept Transaction?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by George Philippou, 16 February 2017.

  1. George Philippou

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    I'm having a somewhat friendly disagreement with my local convenience store owner. He has all his prices ending with a 9c so he then rounds it up. I went in the other day and I decided to pay for something and used 1x 5c and 2c x 2c coins to get me to that 9c.He refused to accept the 2 cent coins.

    Now, I realise these 1c & 2c coins are officially out of circulation but they are still legal tender and that I can only pay up to 20c in any transaction when a store will accept them but what I want to know is...

    If I walk into a store, must the shop keeper accept them for a transaction whether they like it or not and if not, under what circumstances do they have the right not to accept them knowing that paying in cash is an accepted method of payment at that store?

    I look forward to being enlightened on the subject of Australian Consumer Law as ACCC, the office of Fair Trading and the reserve band do no give me a straight answer.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    George, you're correct that the coins are legal tender (although out of circulation). However, it is not unlawful to not accept them (at least according to the Reserve Bank's website).

    As for the Australian Consumer Law, there is a general right for suppliers to refuse to deal with you. Exceptions lie in certain respects such as misuse of market power, exclusive dealing and unconscionable conduct. I don't think refusal to accept 2 cent coins amounts to any of these.

    Another way to view it would be to consider the situation of trying to pay by credit card where they don't have merchant facilities. Credit cards are a usual way to pay, but the shopkeeper doesn't have to accept them. Compare that with internet sellers who require a credit card and don't give you the option of paying by cash.
     
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  3. George Philippou

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    So are you saying that even though it is understood that paying with cash is an accepted method of payment at a store, the store has the right to refuse certain denomination of Australian currency?

    If so would that mean that he could turn around and decide not to accept 5c or even a $5 note at his own description?
     
  4. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Basically, yes. But he'd be shooting himself to do that, as the whole point of owning a business is to provide goods and services in exchange for payment.
     
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  5. George Philippou

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    Well then, that is interesting. So I wonder if all these big stores that round up actually declare that extra revenue. For a small store wouldn't add up to much but for those big national chains over time must be a pretty sum.
     
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